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Tesla stealing Toyota Prius drivers

I’ll just put it out there right from the start: electric cars are worlds better than conventional hybrid vehicles in numerous ways. There’s no doubt about it. They have much better efficiency, excellent acceleration (instant torque!), are super quiet and smooth to drive, really get us off of oil (don’t just reduce our oil use slightly), have zero tailpipe emissions, can be powered using sunlight, and require a tiny amount of maintenance (no oil changes, transmission problems, busted tubes, broken mufflers, engine problems, or smog checks).

Of course, several of those benefits are environmental benefits. We may not typically think of the rich as being that environmentally conscious, but many of them actually are. Proof of that is that many rich people drive a Toyota Prius or other conventional hybrid in order to reduce their footprint — when they could be driving a luxury vehicle instead. Of course, now that they’ve got greener vehicles to choose from, many are jumping ship to electrics, especially the Tesla Model S.

A recent study from Polk Automotive found that the largest percentage of Tesla’s “conquest sales” (sales to people who are coming from another brand… which is basically everyone in Tesla’s case) come from Toyota (15.5%), and most of those people had previously owned a Toyota Prius.

Let’s just point out two big differences between the Model S and the Prius here:

1) The starting price for a Toyota Prius is $24,200, while the starting price for a Tesla Model S is $71,070 before incentives, $63,570 after the federal tax credit, and $61,070 in California after the state rebate. That’s a very different class of vehicle.
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